Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has become the second youngest person ever to win Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year.

It’s been an important year for Zuckerberg; Facebook has grown to over 500 million users, the company is now said to be worth $33.7bn, the website even got the Hollywood treatment in the top box-office grossing film The Social Network.

At 26, Zuckerberg is one of America’s youngest self-made billionaires – the Harvard dropout’s net worth is a reported $6.9 billion. That doesn’t mean the money goes to head though, recently Zuckerberg showed his philanthropic side by pledging $100 million to Newark schools in September.

TIME Magazine chose Zuckerberg for helping to connect “more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them.”

TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel said:

“The social networking platform he invented … is the connective tissue for nearly a tenth of the planet.”

“Facebook is now the third-largest country on earth, and probably holds more information than any government about its citizens. Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, is its T-shirt-wearing head-of-state.”

Zuckerberg’s competition for top spot as Time Magazines’s Person of the Year came from the Tea Party, a “loose affiliation of American citizens united by their dislike of big government”, Julian Assange – head of the Wikileaks organisation that released top-secret cables with the world, Hamid Karzai – elected leader of Afghanistan and the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for over 60 days.

Zuckerberg was appointed number one by Times editors and staff members.